After months of negotiations, the San Clemente City Council has approved the first step of a development that would include the long-stalled Richard Nixon Presidential Library.
As approved Wednesday, the 253-acre development by the Lusk Co. of Irvine would include the library, 1,198 homes, three hotels and a commercial complex atop 100-foot-high bluffs on oceanfront property near Avenida Pico.
The vote came after City Manager James B. Hendrickson and Lusk Executive Vice President Donald Steffensen reached a compromise on two of the city's conditions: that Lusk donate four more acres to the civic center portion of the development and that it pay the cost of creating a 12-acre park.
After negotiating, both sides agreed that Lusk would donate the four acres and would pay $600,000 toward the park. The city will assume the rest of the cost, which will be determined when the bids go out.
With their votes Wednesday, the council members adopted an environmental impact report; designated the type of land use for the property, such as residential and commercial; accepted a General Plan amendment to allow the project, and assured that the development will adhere to the California Coastal Act--all called Phase 1.
Phase 2 will include the project zoning and design requirements such as building heights and drainage. Officials have said that process may take another year.
The council's approval ensures that if, at some point, the Nixon Library is withdrawn from the project, the development proposal will return to the city Planning Commission for reconsideration.
Richard Nixon Presidential Archives Foundation members have said they cannot continue indefinitely to delay the library project because people have donated $25 million for its construction.
The foundation has inquired about two sites in Yorba Linda, the former president's birthplace, as potential alternatives.